The three regional climate initiatives in North America – the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Accord and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) – have joined in a cooperative effort to share experiences in the design and implementation of regional cap-and-trade programs, inform federal decision-making on climate change policy and explore the potential for further collaboration among the three regional programs in the future.
These regional initiatives have released a joint white paper entitled ‘Ensuring Offset Quality: Design and Implementation Criteria for a High-Quality Offset Program.’ The white paper outlines the common vision shared by the three regional initiatives regarding the key design and implementation criteria necessary to establish a high-quality offset program. That vision includes recognition of the potential value of offsets and a commitment to ensuring their integrity.
All three regional programs incorporate an offset component in order to reduce compliance costs and increase compliance flexibility for sources covered by the programs. Each regional initiative is committed to preserving the integrity of its program by requiring that emissions reductions achieved through offset projects are real, additional, verifiable, permanent and enforceable.
In addition, the regional initiatives agree that any offset program should be based on uniform standards, not a case-by-case review of specific projects. Offset programs must also have adequate transparency, credible verification and administrative flexibility.
The regional initiatives have developed the white paper to promote the consistency and integrity of offsets throughout North America. The next step will include applying these quality criteria to specific offset project types. By collaborating on this paper, the participating jurisdictions are moving closer to uniformity among their own programs and aim to inform future federal programs in the U.S. and Canada.
The white paper is available online at rggi.org.
SOURCE: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc. Â Â